My quest to figure out what to do about graying started when a few colorless strands appeared at my temple. Next, one popped up in my front hairline. Then the friend who twisted my hair this summer said that she noticed “several” gray hairs in my crown.
That’s when a low level panic set in. What was happening? Was this for real? Am I going gray? I mean, I still get carded regularly!
After my initial freak out, I ignored my gray hair for months. Now they're coming fast and furious, so I set off to investigate why hair goes gray in the first place.
Why hair goes gray:
According to WebMD:
“Hair goes gray when color-producing cells stop producing pigment... Naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide can also build up in the hair, bleaching the color.”
“Contrary to popular belief, stress has not been shown to cause gray hair. Scientists don’t know exactly why some people go gray early, but genes play a large role. Also, a vitamin B-12 deficiency or problems with your pituitary or thyroid gland can cause premature graying that’s reversible if the problem is corrected”
My glands are all fine and I apparently can’t blame stress. It seems that the only thing left to research was heredity. It turns out that I can probably thank my dad for my fledgling silver streaks.
What to do about it:
Armed with the why, I needed to know more about making them go away. What’s a relatively young woman to do when she’s going gray? I'm not down for letting gray hair age me just yet.
Millie Baggett, owner and Master Colorist at RuMM Color Studio in Alpharetta, GA, came to the rescue with two coverage strategies to get the gray out:
“There are a couple of different options for graying hair. The first option is to do an all-over color which will provide complete coverage of the gray. An all-over color, however, will require maintenance and need to be touched up every 6 weeks or so. Another option is to do a "gray blending" with highlights and/or lowlights. This option has a softer effect and is easier to maintain. This is the best option for someone who is new to color and just wants to make the grays less noticeable.”
Joi Rooks, Owner and Lead Stylist at Fresche in Decatur and Stone Mountain, GA, suggests going with natural looking color and recommends thinking about the end game if you're just starting to see gray:
"When just turning grey, you can start out with a more gentle process to cover or blend. I would suggest a demi-permanent which is great to keep your hair looking natural and to cover smaller amounts of grey. The second option is to consider hi-lighting your hair. Placing some dimensional colour within your colour will diffuse the grey and make it not so visible. This is also a lower maintenance choice because you can go longer in between touch ups.
When you are just starting to colour your hair, you need to ask yourself some questions:
What end result to I want? How committed am I to the maintenance of this colour? Do I want to change my natural colour or just cover the grey?"
Now that I know what my options are, going gray doesn't feel so daunting. I'm still not looking forward to it, but It's nice to know what I can do now and in the future to keep the gray at bay.
What would you do if you started graying earlier than expected?
For the love of hair,